The world, as told by the dominant information system, is
desperately repetitive and boring. Of course there are
serious problems and dramatic events that we cant ignore or
underestimate. But most of the time they arent
new. They fall into known patterns or
they have roots that can (and should) be traced back in time.
New is becoming old.
To be able to look forward, to develop new ideas that arent
irrelevant gimmicks, there is a strong need to get back to
basics. But that isnt enough.
We must deliberately step back. Look into the past,
recent or remote, to re-learn lessons that we appear to have
forgotten. Retrace the route that led us where we are (or
appear to be) to discover which crossing we overlooked, that
could have led us to more interesting pursuits.
We are burdened with an overload of
information in which its hard do understand what
is relevant and useful. The most interesting and stimulating
thoughts or facts are often in hazy areas, away from the limelight.
The vicious circle of stupidity
treats us as fools and, at the same time, makes the so-called
information system more and more stupid. Only by breaking
that circle in every possible way we can get a glimpse of
reality and develop thought or ideas that can really lead
us to a step forward (or back into forgotten notions that
need to be seen in a new light.)
Old and new must
work together, as far away as possible from the
overwhelming noise of appearances, to be able to
focus on what really matters, in the small (but not
irrelevant) details of our daily life as well as on the broad
perspectives of worldwide developments that dont
appear to be heading in any coherent direction.
There are too many new things, or ideas, that
we dont need. Instead of helping us, they make things
confused and complicated. Scientific research and
philosophical thinking need to be free and to probe in all
directions, regardless of whether they appear
useful. But, on the other hand, practical
applications must cater for real needs and practical
functionality. We are plagued with pseudo-innovation,
gimmicks and devices, hastily applied technologies that dont
work, or arent properly managed, or both. (One of many
examples is the powerpoint disease.)
We are also confused by the monotonous concentration of
news and information resources. We are apparently rich in an
abundance of media, but content is desperately
homogenized in a standard pattern that follows
habits, trends and fashions. Some of this is deliberate
manipulation, but a lot is simply passive repetition of
whatever the mainstream thinks is news.
In the information era we are not well informed, unless we learn to
look behind the smokescreen of appearances and find what
matters for us or what is relevant for whatever subject we
are trying to understand.
Unless we step back and understand the roots which can
trace back for only two years or deep into remote history
we are unable to understand what is new and what isnt, what
can change the world (or our life, or a specific environment)
and what is a flimsy fad that will die out in a short while.
Sometimes its difficult and it needs a lot of research
and depth. Sometimes it takes only a few minutes if we know
how to notice the relevant signals. But, in any, case, its
more important that it has ever been to stop and
think. In a world of haste and needless running around
without any clear direction, stepping back and retracing our
route can save us a lot of time as well as mistakes,
mishaps and unnecessary burdens.